Community members in Chicago’s Chatham neighborhood have a nuisance on their hands. A group of teens who are attempting to make a living by beating on buckets at intersections, are viewed as problematic to some of the residents.
“I was living here before many of these street hustlers were born. How dare they come into my neighborhood, cause disruption and think residents are not going to say anything about it,” said Nellie Sanders, 71, who has lived in Chatham for 56 years.
The retired teacher added: “There are plenty of places these guys could go besides clogging up an intersection filled with businesses.”[…]
The busy intersection sits off the 87th Street Red Line station in Sawyer’s ward and the Chatham Ridge Mall, which is located across the street in Ald. Howard Brookins’ (21st) ward.
“For as long as I can remember that intersection has always had panhandlers selling their merchandise. But now, all of a sudden, it’s a big deal,” Brookins said. “At least they’re making an honest living and not selling stolen merchandise. But it is still a petty crime to solicit there, so I was thinking about having the island [in the street] narrowed to prevent panhandlers from standing there.”
Bucket boy D’Quan Jackson said he was able to visit Africa after raising $17,000 as a street performer in one year. The 19-year-old works as a bucket boy seven days a week at the intersection of 87th and State streets.
While city ordinance prohibits solicitation and panhandling in certain areas, there is little enforcement of the law.
“If we sell drugs or go out and rob people to make a living, then we’re wrong. Now we’re doing something legal like banging on buckets and receiving donations and people have a problem with that,” said Darnell Williams, a 21-year-old bucket boy. “We can’t win for losing. I make $400 a week hustling this corner playing my music. So, if people don’t like what we are doing, then they should go somewhere else.”
Sounds like the residents of Chatham are complaining about more of a systematic issue than just a few kids beating on buckets.
Do the residents of Chatham have a valid argument? Or should they be picking a fight with a larger entity than the bucket boys?
Sound off below!